1.) What does ‘integrative psychotherapy’ mean? 

2.) How do you choose a therapist? 

3.) What is the difference between psychotherapy and coaching? 

4.) What are your fees? 

5.) Do you take insurance? 

6.) What are the pros and cons of using insurance? 

7.) How long does therapy or coaching take? 

8.) Do you provide home visits? 

9.) What does ‘mindfulness’ mean? 

10.) What are the benefits of mindfulness practices? 

11.) Do you offer phone sessions?

12.) What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?

13.) Do you offer group therapy?

 

1.) What does ‘integrative psychotherapy’ mean?

In my work, “integrative psychotherapy” has two primary meanings.  It refers to utilizing different methods and techniques to meet the client’s goals, rather than focusing exclusively on one theory or school of thought.  With that said, I do emphasize cognitive-behavioral techniques and mindfulness practices in my work with clients, as these have proven to be very helpful in promoting change. 

The second meaning relates to the integration of mind, body, spiritual and socio-economic factors.  As individuals, we all have different personalities, physiologies and life experiences that contribute to who we are.  It is important to look at and unify these realms, in order to live more fully and in the present.   

2.) How do you choose a therapist?

Research indicates that the quality of the relationship between therapist and client is one of the most important factors contributing to the effectiveness of therapy.  Therefore, when choosing a therapist, it is important that you feel comfortable with their style and approach.  You can learn about therapists by speaking to referral sources (friends, doctors, etc.), reviewing their websites and asking questions about their approach and background. 

I offer prospective clients a free, 15 minute, phone consultation to learn more about their situation, answer questions and help determine if I'm a good match for their needs. 

 

back to top 


3.) What is the difference between psychotherapy and coaching?

There are many perspectives and opinions about the differences between “psychotherapy” and “coaching” (also referred to as life or personal coaching). A common distinction states that psychotherapy focuses more on the past (e.g., how one’s childhood has influenced their personality and behavior) whereas coaching focuses more on what people want for their future. While there is some truth to this, this distinction is overly simplistic. .

Psychotherapy is traditionally geared toward treating psychological, emotional and behavioral disorders. However, there are many individuals who choose to participate in therapy to improve their lives and sense of well-being, who do not have a “mental disorder” per se. As an aside, within my practice, I view “disorders” as learned emotional and behavioral patterns that can be largely unlearned with the proper support and tools.

Much of the variation between psychotherapy and coaching is dependent on the individual practitioner. Many therapists have been using principles and techniques that are considered more ‘coaching-oriented’ for decades. For example, seeing the client as already whole (versus focusing on pathology); normalizing emotions; focusing on the present, while recognizing the role of the past; emphasizing strengths; helping clients discover their own answers to problems; and teaching new skills for better living. These are all things that good psychotherapists emphasize.

In my practice, the main distinctions between psychotherapy and coaching are outlined below.

Psychotherapy is typically for those who need help with things like depression, anxiety, grief, low self-esteem, serious relationship difficulties and addiction. If emotional and behavioral issues are having a significant impact on your life in areas such as work, school, relationships, health, etc., then psychotherapy is probably most appropriate.

Psychotherapy is also for those who may or may not be experiencing one of the aforementioned difficulties, but are interested in doing more in-depth self-growth work, which includes looking at how the past impacts one’s present life.

Coaching is for those who are already functioning fairly well in their lives, but would like to accomplish more, such as:

  • Maximizing performance at work (e.g., time management, efficiency, leadership skills)
  • Developing more fulfilling relationships
  • Increasing interpersonal skills (e.g., communication and assertiveness skills, emotional intelligence)
  • Starting or growing a business
  • Achieving an athletic goal (e.g., completing a marathon, achieving a ranking in your sport)
  • Getting into better physical shape, losing weight
  • Discovering one’s life purpose


Coaching sessions tend to focus more on the present and future and less on the past. Similar to psychotherapy, the coaching relationship is collaborative and supportive. Life coaching helps clients identify and achieve goals in core areas, such as career, relationships, health/wellness, spirituality and recreation.

In my practice, I sometimes integrate traditional therapeutic approaches and coaching-oriented tactics, depending on the needs and goals of the client.

 

back to top 


4.) What are your fees?

45-50 minute session, in-person: $130

25-30 minute session, in-person: $65

45-50 minute session, via phone: $110

25-30 minute session, via phone: $55

A sliding scale is available for those with limited resources; if this is the case, please let me know and we can discuss your situation. I also offer prospective clients a free, 15 minute, phone consultation to help determine if I can be of assistance.

back to top 


5.) Do you take insurance?

Yes.  I currently accept all insurance plans that have an "out-of-network" benefit and am also an “in-network” provider for Medicare. Out-of-network coverage is usually more limited than in-network (i.e., the client will have a higher co-pay).  

I am happy to contact your insurance provider if you would like assistance with determining your benefit coverage. FYI, I submit all documentation required for claims whether clients are using their in or out-of-network coverage.

 

back to top 


6.) What are the pros and cons of using insurance?

Depending on your insurance, partial or full fee coverage may be provided for psychotherapy services. If you elect to use insurance, some information about the services, such as a mental health diagnosis, must be provided to the insurance company in order to receive payment.

Sessions are billable to insurance companies only if a client meets the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) criteria for a “disorder” (examples of disorders include “Major Depression,” “Adjustment Disorder,” “Generalized Anxiety Disorder” or Substance-Related Disorders). 

Some clients choose to not use their insurance, but instead pay the fees themselves for greater privacy and control over the course of their treatment.  As a self-paying client, I can guarantee that your needs and interests come first, rather than having our work together influenced by the insurance company.   

 

back to top 


7.) How long does therapy or coaching take?

This is a difficult question to answer because each person is unique, with different goals and objectives, as well as different life circumstances that impact outcomes. Some clients achieve their initial objectives and decide that they want to continue working on further growth and development.  When working with a therapist or coach, it is important to clarify your goals and to check in with your provider periodically to see if you are moving in that direction.    

 

back to top 


8.) Do you provide home visits?

I provide home visits to seniors who face significant transportation barriers, at no additional cost. 

 

back to top 


9.) What does ‘mindfulness’ mean?

“Mindfulness is an innate human capacity to deliberately pay full attention to where we are, to our actual experience, and to learn from it. Much of our day we spend on automatic pilot. People know the experience of driving somewhere, pulling up to the curb and all of a sudden realizing, ‘Wow, I was hardly aware I was even driving. How did I get here?’ When we pay attention, it is gracious, which means that there is space for our joys and sorrows, our pain and losses, all to be held in a peaceful way.” 
-Jack Kornfield, Buddhist Teacher, Author, Psychologist


“Mindfulness is a way of learning to relate directly to whatever is happening  in your life, a way of taking charge of your life, a way of doing something for yourself that only you can do for you – consciously and systematically working with your own stress, illness, and challenges and demands of everyday life.”
- Jon Kabat-Zinn, Professor, Author, Founder of Mindfulness-Based Stress Reduction


Mindfulness is paying attention to the present moment, without judgment and with a sense of acceptance for what it is.   This “ability” can be cultivated through practicing mindfulness meditation as well as by paying attention to the present moment in everyday experiences.  For example, when you are washing the dishes – just wash the dishes.  Pay attention to what the water feels like, the smell of the dish soap, the texture of the sponge, notice the excess food as it washes off the plate into the sink, etc.  As the mind wanders off to (seemingly) better things, such as thinking about “what’s on TV tonight” or “I can’t stand doing the dishes” or “I really didn’t like what we had to eat tonight,” gently bring your attention back to simply “doing the dishes.”   

 

back to top 


10.) What are the benefits of mindfulness practices?

By cultivating an increased ability to live in the present moment, mindfulness helps people accept and enjoy their current experiences more, rather than clinging to the past or worrying so much about the future.  This can often contribute to a greater sense of well-being and inner peace.  It also helps people learn how to ‘respond’ to situations rather than simply ‘reacting’ to them, thereby increasing personal and professional effectiveness.   


Formal research studies have indicated that mindfulness-related practices can help people deal with stress, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, eating disorders, low self-esteem and other issues.    

 

back to top 


11.) Do you offer phone sessions?

Psychotherapy and coaching sessions can be held via phone. Some people find it easier to have sessions over the phone due to busy schedules or geographic location.  At this time, I do not offer video-conference sessions.  

 

back to top 

12.) What is cognitive-behavioral therapy?

Cognitive-behavioral therapy (also known as CBT) emphasizes the role of thinking (cognition) in how we feel (emotions) and what we do (behavior). For example, if one thinks something like “I am worthless,” then this thought may contribute to feelings of shame or sadness. If on the other hand, one thinks “I am a lovable and kind person,” this leads to a different set of emotions, such as feelings of contentment and happiness. CBT helps individuals identify automatic and repetitive thoughts that contribute to emotional distress and negative behavior. After this, the challenge is to examine these thoughts for validity and replace the irrational thoughts with more realistic appraisals of self and others.

The other component of CBT looks at behavioral change. Changing what one thinks often leads to changes in behavior. Alternatively, changing behavior can also lead to greater well-being. For example, with depression, it’s common to experience a lack of motivation and decreased activity level. The internal thoughts/feelings (i.e., self-talk) associated with depression may tell one to stay home, sleep more, not participate in many activities, etc. This is a downward spiral where more inactivity then leads to greater depression. On the other hand, by choosing to increase activity level, regardless of how one feels, one will increase their exposure to potentially pleasurable experiences. More pleasurable experiences can help improve mood.

Cognitive-behavioral strategies work well with mindfulness techniques because both philosophies emphasize how internal shifts in perspective can contribute to more positive mood and behavioral changes. Accordingly, individuals have greater access to their inherent internal power in any situation, which is a contradiction to a more helpless, externally-focused mentality. This isn’t to say that there aren’t difficult, external forces out there; of course, there are many. However, by shifting perspective and thinking more rationally, people not only feel better, but also are more empowered to act in useful ways to effect change in their lives and others.

 

back to top 



13.) Do you offer group therapy?

Currently, I do not provide any groups.  I provide only individual and family psychotherapy and coaching services in San Francisco.  Group therapy can be helpful for many issues.  PsychologyToday.com and FindGroupTherapy.com are two resources for locating groups in the SF Bay Area.

 

back to top